Daines Introduces Historic Reform Bill to Protect Montanans’ Privacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today helped introduce widely supported bipartisan legislation that ends the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Daines is an original cosponsor of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, which ends bulk collection under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and requires greater oversight, transparency, and accountability in surveillance activities. Three provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), including Section 215, are due to sunset on June 1.

“Montanans have seen firsthand the dangers of big government’s intrusion into our daily lives, our personal information and our privacy,” Daines stated.  “It’s critical that comprehensive reforms are put in place to end the mass collection of Montanans’ personal data and protect Montanans’ civil liberties from the egregious abuses of power we’ve witnessed at the hands of the federal government. I will keep fighting until Americans’ privacy and personal information is secure from government overreach.”

Daines has long worked to protect Montanans’ civil liberties and Fourth Amendment rights. In the House, Daines was a vocal critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk meta-data collection and was a supporter of the original USA FREEDOM Act that would have ended the NSA’s abuses and overreach.                                               

Daines also supported an amendment to the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, introduced by Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.), which called for the end of NSA’s blanket collection of Americans’ telephone records by authorizing the FISA court to order the production of business records and other “tangible items” that pertain only to a person under an authorized counterterrorism investigation.

The USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 is cosponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It also has the support of the Obama administration, privacy groups, and the technology industry. 

The full text of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 can be found here.